City Water Works-Pumping Station

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City Water Works-Pumping Station


Public utilities; Pumping stations


In 1867 the city council decided Madison needed to update and improve its water works. Industrialization and increased population were putting pressure on a deteriorating water system. They instructed A. M. Cornett, City Engineer, to submit plans for a new pumping station and the means to pull water from the Ohio River. The water was to be stored in reservoirs and then distributed throughout the city. The plans would then be submitted to the populace. In the April 30, 1869 Daily Evening Courier the following appeared, "WATER WORKS-FOR OR AGAINST, The Common Council of the City of Madison resolved, at its regular session, held April 21st, 1870, that the vote of the citizens at the approaching city election FOR or AGAINST WATER WORKS shall be had; and that if a majority of the votes be For Water-Works it will be considered as an instruction to the City Council to construct STEAM WATER WORKS AND EXTEND THE PIPE WHERE DEEMED NECESSARY. The steam works to be located on the Ohio River, above the Mammoth Cave Pork House, and the reservoir to be on the hill at the head of Main Cross Street. The estimated cost of the proposed improvement is $50,000. By order of the Common Council. John D. Simpson, City Clerk Attest: apr22-dtd." Despite some controversy, the plans to improve the water system progressed. The first trial of the engines and pumps occurred in August of 1871. Pumps and engines were the work of COBB, STRIBBLING AND COMPANY, a local concern. The engines, when pumping, were calculated to run at a speed of thirteen revolutions per minute. The old brick building that housed the machinery was situated below Ferry Street on what was then the outer city limits. The old building, sometimes called the Alamo, suffered through the 1937 flood and was then removed.


Harry Lemen, photographer


Daily Evening Courier; Historical Files; Louis DeCar


Date unknown


Madison-Jefferson County Public Library


Permission to reproduce this image for other than personal use must be requested from the Director of the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library. Please contact at 420 W. Main Street Madison, IN 47250 (812) 265-2744


Scanned from a duplicate negative at 1200 DPI using a Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL. Online jpeg image file saved at 72 DPI 800 to 1000 pixels on long edge. Scan is full frame of photograph. No correction of film errors. Slight sharpness and contrast adjustments.


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Harry Lemen, photographer, "City Water Works-Pumping Station," in Harry Lemen Historic Photo Collection, Item #103, (accessed May 27, 2015).